Eating by yourself is a hopeless thing
I like hopeful things
Like taking the bus to Sidney and watching the waves
But not when it's dark
Eating by yourself is a hopeless thing
“The poet does not aim to excite—that is not even a test of his success—but to set something down; the state of the reader is merely that reader's particular mode of perceiving what the poet has caught in words. Dante, more than any other poet, has succeeded in dealing with his philosophy, not as a theory (in the modern and not the Greek sense of that word) or as his own comment or reflection, but in terms of something perceived. When most of our modern poets confine themselves to what they had perceived, they produce for us, usually, only odds and ends of still life and stage properties; but that does not imply so much that the method of Dante is obsolete, as that our vision is perhaps comparatively restricted.”
After several months, I have now finished reading that great Homeric epic, The Iliad. It is a beautiful story - beautiful in that it movingly portrays human character in the extreme situation of war. In the last chapter, we see the panoply of human emotions: the frenzy of the games held after the victory of battle, the longing for sweet sleep after a long day, the insatiable grief and self-torment of a man mourning his best friend. It is good to see that humanity at its core has not changed much since Ancient Greece. In this great epic, we see a reflection of ourselves, as through an ancient mirror.
This morning, I had two interesting thoughts.
Today I take up as my life's mission the following phrase from The Imitation of Christ, Book II, Chapter 1:
Pope Benedict XVI: "Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you to find in this Lenten Season prolonged moments of silence, possibly in retreat, in order to review your own lives in the light of the loving plan of the heavenly Father."
(1st Sunday of Lent, St. Andrew's Cathedral, Victoria BC)
Rainbow as announcement of God's mercy: Even if man falls into sin, God
will not destroy the earth. Christ fulfills this covenant.
Harrowing of Hell: purgatory. Another sign of mercy.
Baptism more than ritual: a sacrament of mercy, through which we are
saved. Also a gift of holiness, as it unites us to God. Also, a task to
live in a way befitting this gift.
Temptation is especially strong in times of holiness, such as the Lenten
season. We must persevere.
Realize the love and forgiveness of Christ.
Spread the joy of Christ.
Went to Confession today, and Father Benoit ended with, "God bless you,
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How does one live well?
The rules of religion are, paradoxically, a source of freedom. Without rules and traditions, every day would be similar to the others. I would be working as hard and as late on Sunday as I do on the other days. Day blurs into day, and week into week.
Like most people, I have high standards for my work and, in some things, certain ways of doing things that I consider to be the Best Way. But in a team, I must accept that other people may have ideas that are equally valid, or ideas that may be deficient in some respects but good enough. But of course, if someone is veering off course, or doing shoddy work, or could benefit from a sugestion, I'll offer my advice.
"Thinking they have found serenity in an interpretation of reality everywhere proposed these days, many look forward to a genuine and total emancipation of humanity wrought solely by human effort; they are convinced that the future rule of man over the earth will satisfy every desire of his heart. Nor are there lacking men who despair of any meaning to life and praise the boldness of those who think that human existence is devoid of any inherent significance and strive to confer a total meaning on it by their own ingenuity alone."
"Again and again we encounter the signs of an alternative civilization
- Pope John Paul II, "Memory and Identity"
Today, feeling in high spirits. Read some poetry. Felt inspired. Built something. There definitely seems to be a cycle between highs and lows. Curiously, both are times when poetry is read easily: during the highs, one can revel in the playfulness of the poets; during the lows, one seeks solace in the searchings of the poets. And strangely, at either end I wouldn't have it any other way: I love the confidence and creativity that accompanies the highs; I love the brutal honesty and reality and ability-to-perceive-the-world-as-it-is of the lows.
Promise to myself: endeavour to get enough sleep each night. It is a
"He who meditates on the Four Last Things, namely, death, judgment, and
- St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Rule of Life, I.2, circa 1767
Worldly people call illnesses misfortunes, but the saints call them visitations of God and favors. When we are ill we ought certainly to take remedies in order to be cured, but we should always be resigned to whatever God disposes.– St. Alphonsus De Liguori
Sunday 10:07pm. It's often a question of emphasis, shading. Weight this aspect of life slightly more, or that. And choosing which wisdom to consume. Eventually it all settles down, an equilibrium of judgement, homeostatic philosophy. Stage lights on, and you act.
Lift, light, rise, spring, burst
Today I took a break from work, after an intense week. Today is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time on the Church calendar. I want to treat Sunday differently from the other days, focused on God. This is his day, and ours as well – a day to rest.
"From this follows the obligation of the cessation from work and labor on Sundays and certain holy days. The rest from labor is not to be understood as mere giving way to idleness; much less must it be an occasion for spending money and for vicious indulgence, as many would have it to be; but it should be rest from labor, hallowed by religion."
"We look to you for our stable hope in a constantly changing world."
The truth is to be found not within. Nor in the past, nor in literature, nor in art. Not in childhood, not in knowledge, not in dreams. Nor the body, the mind, the heart. The time is short. The truth is found where it has always been found in every age.
"The more we are at the beck and call of others, the more we sacrifice
Found this insightful quote in C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity:
"That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people
who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if
there is one; or - if they think there is not - at least they hope to
deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he
does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will
love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He
Scattered thoughts, and a cool breeze to cool the perspiring neck. Cacophony of branches and roots; tangle of stalks and grasses. Leaning backwards, leaning in, seeking the cool shade. The bee flits from dry leaf to dry leaf, finding no relief.
Weary mind, weary soul, smell of burning wood. And little popping sounds about, and slow-walking people, and resonant bass notes from a faraway drum. Strong, pungent air, smell of stiff stalks, scent of wheat. Smell of sky and leaf, of cloud and twig, birdsong and thunder.
Wild song of a dying bird, ecstatic in its dying. Wild gaze of a hunter sighting his prey, heart arrhythmically pounding, the gaze that sees not, the mind from which reason is absent, the animal impulse that will not be sated. Against the sun, the skin of the neck
For the weary traveller, there are few things better than sitting in a massive, airy room with a view of the open sky. The crowd tries to make a din, but the noise is subsumed by the empty space, resulting in a quiet peace. Here you observe spent mothers, arms draped over the backs of their chairs, watching over their children. And men wearing hats, talking into their hands, talking of synchronicity.
Time. We're running out of time! Peer up, into the sky, through the water and into the sunlight. Weary limbs fall. Weary couples struggle to sit down, tripping on their luggage, dipping fish into mayonnaise while reading books. Strangers sit down together, make an uncomfortable silence, push a cup of coffee on a table of granite and wood.
The joyful businesswoman is frozen in a state of running, and the dreamer looks up at the clouds, aware of the silence, aware of the buzzing, and seeing conversations flowing soundlessly: words, words, transient words, floating into nothingness. Talk, talk, constant chatter, noise disappearing into the vacuous ephemeral, information quantized into bits, a beautiful woman in a rush to wait, stares, gestures, glances,
Dusk, when the air is thick, and families turn off their car alarms and step inside, readying themselves for the journey home. The evening hour, hour of police sirens and horns, hour of the gradient sky, mauve into turquoise into aquamarine. Dusk: one pinprick star in a pastel, muted universe, one lonely lamp on an aluminum foil balcony, round and round the sleepy turnabout they go.